2021 NFL Draft Profile: Benjamin St-Juste

Benjamin St-Juste NFL Draft Overview

Position: Cornerback
Height: 6’-3”
Weight: 200 pounds
School: Minnesota

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Benjamin St-Juste 2021 NFL Draft Profile

Being able to compete with the size and length of dominant wide receivers is a must in the pass-happy NFL. 6’-3” cornerbacks in the NFL are few and far between, which makes Benjamin St-Juste an intriguing prospect. He offers unique length for the position, and the arrow is pointing upwards for St-Juste’s draft stock after a head-turning week at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. However, with only 18 games of experience in college, St-Juste is entering the league a little raw. 

St-Juste’s background is unique having grown up in Montreal, Canada. He attended Cegep du Vieux school in Montreal and spoke predominantly French growing up. St-Juste didn’t learn English until 17. However, the cornerback committed to the University of Michigan early in the recruiting process. After limited playing time at Michigan in 2017, St-Juste redshirted in 2018 before transferring to Minnesota as a 2-year graduate. 

With the Minnesota Golden Gophers, St-Juste enjoyed his most productive college season in 2019. He made 45 total tackles and contributed 10 pass defenses which led the team. Due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he played only five games in 2020. He recorded 14 tackles in those games and declared his intention to enter the 2021 NFL Draft as an underclassman. St-Juste appeared to shoot up draft boards after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, which included leading the team in pass breakups in the game itself. 

Strengths

  • Exceptional size and length for the position – freakish wingspan;
  • Physical corner – In press coverage and at the catch point to break up passes;
  • Strong tackler – showcased good closing speed;
  • Jump Balls are in his favor even at the pro level due to impressive size;
  • Has decent change of direction skills for his size – doesn’t get consistently beat on comebackers and hitches, uses his length to reach in and rake at the ball.

Weaknesses

  • Struggles to flip his hips smoothly – Gets upright and loses momentum;
  • Slow to get going – size limits his initial burst;
  • Not a lot of tape available – 420 career coverage snaps;
  • Route recognition is a work in process – needs more reps;
  • Can get a little handsy when he’s behind – penalty concerns at the next level. 

NFL Comparison: Tre Flowers

Flowers is one of the very few cornerbacks in the league listed at 6’-3”. He lines up outside and the Seattle Seahawks ask their cornerbacks to play a tough, physical brand of football. Flowers plays the run well, something Seattle prefers out of their cornerbacks. However, he has struggled in coverage for large stretches of seasons. St-Juste will likely play a similar style to Flowers and projects as an effective tackler for a cornerback. However, reps and confidence are key to the cornerback position, and St-Juste will need both to succeed at famously one of the toughest positions to play in the league. 

Teams With Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans

Projection: Third Round

Bottom Line on Benjamin St-Juste

The physical tools and upward trajectory of St-Juste’s draft stock after his stellar senior bowl week make it difficult to see him falling to Day 3 of the draft. There should be a sense of buyer beware when it comes to St-Juste as his limitations out of college are clear on tape. He’s a raw prospect who lacked consistency in his technique at times. It’s rare to find a cornerback of his size and length, but that goes both ways. Many longer cornerbacks have struggled to handle quick-twitch receivers at the pro level. 

However, St-Juste reportedly impressed in interviews during the Senior Bowl and scouts love the measurements. Front offices will buy into the size and back their coaching staff to work on his technique. The lack of experience makes him a huge risk if taken any earlier than the third round, but if a team hits on St-Juste he has the potential to be a unique tool for a defensive coordinator. With a player of his size, a move to safety is a possibility if he doesn’t hold up in man coverage on the outside. 

St-Juste is a developmental prospect, but the upside is huge. He’s worth the gamble for a contender who can afford to take on such a project. The biggest thing he needs is reps. Route recognition comes with experience and professional-level film study. It’s possible a team sees a fast progression from St-Juste in years one and two when he receives pro coaching on a daily basis. 

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